A media report stated that the Department of Defense is considering a request by the U.S. Military to send an additional 5,000 troops to the Middle East.
Reuters cited two anonymous officials in a report on Thursday saying that the U.S. Central Command had made the request for additional troops but it is still being considered by the Pentagon. One of the officials said the requested troops would be defensive in nature.
The Pentagon refused to comment on the story.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been rising as a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group is in the region. The military also stationed four B-52 bombers and a Patriot Missile battery nearby. Last week, four oil tankers were severely damaged by explosives while off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. accused Iran-backed Houthi rebels of carrying out the attack.
The U.S. government has ordered all nonessential personnel to be evacuated from Iraq on the basis of unspecified threats the administration said are linked to Iranian-backed militias in the country.
On Sunday, a rocket was fired into Baghdad in Iraq, landing less than one mile from the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. government believes the rocket was fired by Iran-backed Shiites in eastern Baghdad.
Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran have been deteriorating since last year when President Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal. The JCPOA was signed with Iran by the Obama administration and was intended to limit the Iranian nuclear program to peaceful goals. After signing the JCPOA, Iran continued testing intercontinental ballistic missiles in contravention of agreements signed with the UN Security Council.
It was recently reported that Iran quadrupled its uranium production.
President Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Iran last month, designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.